Chimes at Midnight
(Campanadas a medianoche)
Chimes at Midnight . . . may be the greatest Shakespearean film ever made, bar noneVincent Canby, New York TImes
Orson Welles, Keith Baxter, John Gielgud, Jeanne Moreau,
Drawn primarily from Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, with additions from other plays and Holinshed’s Chronicles, Welles’s interpretation of the life and death of “this great hill of flesh,” Sir John Falstaff, is both acutely personal and faithful to the language and spirit of Shakespeare. In a comic and stirring elegy that echoes the senile Shallow’s refrain, “Jesus, the days that we have seen,” Welles plays the canny fool Falstaff as a living emblem of a dying world. His Merrie England of jostling vulgarity is visually contrasted with the settings of stark majesty from which Henry IV (John Gielgud) uneasily reigns.